Jeff Meadors: Guiding our students toward college, career readiness

Jeff Meadors

Jeff Meadors

The current issue of Fortune Magazine profiles the 100 Best Companies to Work For and 78 of them need to fill 67,000 jobs. Will Georgians fill any of those spots? Rockdale and Newton school leaders like to think so.

The fields include technology -- with Google leading the pack at No. 1 -- health care, software, animation, oncology, culinary, energy, wireless, food services and agriculture.

Career academies in Rockdale and Newton envision college and career readiness, and have plans in place.

The Rockdale schools strategic plan reveals a system seeking to partner with local colleges and universities to offer core content courses on high school campuses during the school day. Georgia Perimeter College offered political science and English 1101 at RCA in the fall of 2012 and offers English 1102 and macroeconomics at Rockdale Career Academy. RCA and GPC leaders aim for expanded offerings in fiscal year 2014.

With leaders coming together in the spirit of the Bridge Act and House Bill 186, requiring education officials by law to notify all eligible students in grades eight through 11 by April 1 annually of all early college options, the sky falls on tradition. This is new ground.

Collaboration between RCA and GPC resulted in improved course lists in 2012 for students in career pathways, all funded through state programs. Courses like Corrections and Criminology gained approval.

RCA seeks to embed college courses into pathway cohorts with GPC, the largest dual enrollment provider in Georgia, comprising one-third of all DE students in the University System.

With Law and Justice, Public Safety and Health Care programs targeted, RCA welcomes post-secondary participation because RCA knows what national data show: dually enrolled students are more likely than their non-dually enrolled counterparts to complete high school, enter college and complete college -- all on time.

Newton College & Career Academy has skin in the game to send kids to Fortune's 100, having launched a new Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Institute -- the first of its kind in Georgia -- and a CEO farm in its Entrepreneurial Business Incubator, bringing theory and practice together.

Georgia suffers from a STEM skills shortage; NCCA aims to mitigate the dearth.

In a year when math SAT scores at Eastside High School increased double digits, analysts predict 7 of every 10 jobs by 2018 will demand an educational background in STEM; math achievement is critical.

NCCA will host GPC in its Lecture Hall on Feb. 7 for a 6 to 7:30 p.m. information event where NCCA and GPC leaders will talk college, careers and testing.

Current sophomores and juniors interested in dual enrollment at NCCA for fall 2013 should attend.

Education leaders will review the NCCA -- GPC plan, course lists, fall scheduling possibilities, funding formulas, verification of lawful presence, immunizations and transcripts.

Colleges and schools are coming together, for 100 of the best places to work in America need 67,000 new employees, and we want Newton and Rockdale graduates to be somewhere in that crowd.

Jeff Meadors is the District 1 representative on the Newton County Board of Education. Readers may email him at pjeffreymeadors@gmail.com.